Taking Chance

HBO

Kevin Bacon says he had his doubts about tackling the Iraq War in HBO’s “Taking Chance.” “There had been a lot of films and TV shows made about the war, and I felt like they’d been made too soon,” the thesp reveals. “I thought people weren’t really ready to watch content that was about a war we were still in the middle of.”

But the Ross Katz-helmed drama, based on former Lt. Col. Mike Strobl’s experience as the military “escort” who accompanied a young dead Marine home, is less about the conflict abroad than the conflicted folks back home. As Strobl makes his way across the country with his charge, he is greeted with an outpouring of sympathy and national unity that transcends any particular war — or its politics.

“I liked the simplicity of it, and I liked the way the emotional content sort of came up on you slowly,” Bacon explains. “It wasn’t pounded into you from the beginning. There was a sense that it was going to be OK for the story to evolve slowly, and I liked that quality of the writing.”

Which seems a bit odd, because Bacon spends much of the film being eloquently silent. His performance as Strobl is as much about facial expression as it is dialogue. Yet he doesn’t see a dichotomy.

“I think of it as the same thing. Whether you’re telling the story with your mouth and words, or your eyes, it’s all the same process,” Bacon says. “When I was younger, I’d be like, ‘Give me as many lines as you possibly can!’ But over the last few years, there are a couple of things I’ve explored as an actor that are about doing more with less. It’s something you have to come to after a long time working.”

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